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Reply to "'There is' or 'there are' a variety?"

(Reposted from old newsgroup on 3/14/03)

My corpus search findings on A Variety of NP & was/were/is/are (my corpus, WEC, a collection of famous literary works, about 50 million words; the sentences, of different patterns, are simplified to save space):

Subject-Verb: Singular
NP: 5 plural, 2 singular
1. A variety of courses was open to her.
2. when a variety of very select foods and liquids was placed
3. there IS A VARIETY OF new distortions of the adjective to be learned
4. There WAS A VARIETY OF dishes much to his taste
5. there WAS A VARIETY OF cold dishes set off with jelly
1. We saw specimens of the kuabaoba, ..., which IS A VARIETY OF the white
2. there WAS A VARIETY OF excellence

Subject-Verb: Plural
NP: 10 plural
1. Hung about his neck by means of a cord WERE A VARIETY OF poems
2. here ARE A VARIETY OF amusements
3. there ARE A VARIETY OF rich columns
4. whilst a variety of rude implements of war were piled in confused heaps
5. On the sideboard a variety of miscellaneous articles were huddled together,
6. such a variety of Christian sects have followed the footsteps
7. To do this, a variety of improvements were necessary
8. a variety of fancy chops were administered on both sides
9. one could get a variety of foreign drinks which were kept for the visiting naval officers
10. a variety of queer smells were partially quenched

Chuncan Feng
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